Longtime blood platelet donors who often help cancer patients in emergencies were honored recently by the American Red Cross, Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region during an awards dinner and a night at the ballpark.
The organization paid tribute to 200 platelet donors and 300 other volunteers, who were given tickets to an Orioles game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Platelet donations differ from whole blood donations. Chemotherapy for cancer patients destroys cancer cells, but also is toxic to normal cells, including platelets, the blood-clotting cells found in bone marrow.
When their platelet levels fall below certain levels, patients' lives may be threatened by excessive bleeding, bruising and other complications.
Platelet donors must recline for about 90 minutes, rather than the eight to 10 minutes for whole-blood donations. Blood is drawn from one arm, and the beer-colored platelets are separated in a spinning machine and collected. The remaining blood is returned to the other arm.
Recipients get transfusions within 24 to 96 hours of donations.
Some of the donors honored received "Cal Ripken Awards" for donating the longest. They are: Jeffrey Crooks of Columbia, donating 112 times since 1981; Donald Dailey of Baltimore, 113 times since 1981; Harvey Pollack of Owings Mills, emergency donor since 1981; David Welch of Abingdon, 45 donations since 1983; and Fred Deyesu, donor of granulocytes every three days in 64 donations.
Recipients of "Hank Aaron Awards" for giving the most are: Rose Ratajcak of Baltimore, with 130 donations; Geoffrey Lemmer of Baltimore, 135; Charles Byus of Baltimore, 138; Barry Wilson of Catonsville, 143; and Beaulah Miller of Baltimore, 152.
Recipients of "Pinch Hitter Awards" for donating in emergency situations, often every two weeks, are: Pater Fort of Columbia, 93 donations; Henry Laumann of Perry Hall, 110; Larry Knee of Crownsville, 107; Richard Schmidt, 111; and Fred Williams of Randallstown, 126.
Pairs of donors honored for giving together are: Suzanne Heller and Byron Heller of Airville, Pa., 67 combined donations; Cheryl Leddon of Carney, and her father, Jack Leddon of Fallston, 121; and Frances Michael and John Michael of Sykesville, 82.
Pub Date: 9/03/96